Day 1: Dunedin. Arrive at the city of Dunedin, New Zealand and check into a central city hotel for the night. A detailed programme will be available to you when you check in at reception. Dinner is at the hotel which is an opportunity to meet fellow expeditioners.
Day 2: Otago Harbour. After breakfast at your leisure in the dining room the group will be transferred to the port to board the Spirit of Enderby. Settle into your cabin and explore the ship as we depart in the late afternoon as Northern Royal Albatross fly overhead.
Day 3: The Snares. These are the first of the Subantarctic Islands we will be visiting. Here more seabirds nest on these small islands than there are seabirds around the entire British Isles. We will take a Zodiac cruise along the sheltered eastern side. Snares Crested Penguins are plentiful around the coast as are Cape Petrels. Cruising in the sheltered bays we should see the endemic Tomtit and Fernbird. Antarctic terns, white-fronted terns and red-billed gulls are around the coastline.
Day 4: Arrive at Enderby Island in the Auckland Islands group. We make a landing at Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the Hookers Sealion with observations of the following species, Southern Royal Albatross, Northern giant petrel, Auckland Island shag, Auckland Island teal, Auckland Island banded dotterel, Auckland Island tomtit, bellbird, pipit, red crowned parakeet, yellow eyed penguin, light mantled sooty albatross. We will spend some time searching for the Subantarctic Snipe. Other more common species we will see include goldfinch, song thrush, blackbird, European starling, red-bill gull, redpoll. On Derrycastle Reef there is a good chance to see bar-tailed godwit, turnstone and perhaps other migratory waders.
Day 5: This morning we will cruise to Carnley Harbour in the south of the main Auckland Islands, there will be an opportunity for the energetic participants to climb to the Southwest Cape shy mollymawk colony. Wandering albatross nest above the colony amongst the tussock, we should get good views of these birds as they will be nesting at this time. Those remaining on board will visit one of a number of historic sites in the area and perhaps see a NZ falcon that frequent the area. We depart the Auckland Islands.
Day 6: Campbell Island. We anchor in Perseverance Harbour, site of the former New Zealand Meterological Station. After a visit to the station we will walk to Col-Lyall saddle and observe the Southern Royal Albatross which gather there to nest. On this stunning island we will also see megaherbs and witness other wildlife such as Campbell Island shags, Light mantled sooty albatross and sealions.
Day 7-11: Our days at sea will be spent enjoying lectures, watching video presentations and movies and looking out for birds, whales and dolphins. There are the pelagic species. Wandering albatross, royal albatross, black-browed albatross, light-mantled sooty albatross, Salvins albatross, grey headed albatross, northern and southern giant petrel, sooty shearwater, little shearwater. We will endeavour to sort out the fairy prion, fulmar prion and Antarctic prion which are not always easy but we should get some great views. Other species to be on the look out for include soft-plumaged petrel, mottled petrel, white-headed petrel, grey-faced petrel, white chinned petrel, grey backed storm petrel, Wilsons storm petrel, black-bellied storm petrel and common diving petrel.
Days 12-18: We approach the remote East Antarctic coastline to the first stop is Cape Denison Commonwealth Bay, “Home of the Blizzard”. The Cape is the site of the historic hut last used by Sir Douglas Mawson, Australia’s most famous Antarctic Explorer, who led the tragic, yet heroic 1911 - 1914 expedition. Mawson’s hut still stands, although ravaged by the weather extremes of this area. We will also attempt to land and visit Adelie Penguins which nest here. The East Antarctic Coastline is one of the first areas of the Antarctic Continent to become "Ice Free" each year.
Wildlife is abundant with Snow Petrels and Wilson’s Storm Petrels nesting on the continent and many offshore islands. Further west we will find Emperor Penguins nesting at Dumont d’Urville. We will make a special effort to land at these sites to enable you to see and photograph the birds. Off the coast of East Antarctica we will witness the unending fascination of icebergs and sea ice as we sail to the wandering South Magnetic Pole currently estimated to be100 miles of the coast.
Days 19-21: Departing from the spectacular ice carved nature of Antarctica we cruise northwards towards Macquarie Island with some quieter time at sea to recover from the extensive daylight hours of Antarctic. Our lecturers will discuss various aspects of the Southern Ocean with us as we share in the friendly camaraderie of the Spirit of Enderby. A look out will be kept for whales and seabirds of the region.
Days 22 & 23: Macquarie Island. This remote outpost belongs to Australia, it is a narrow sliver of land that supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Situated on the northern end of the island is the base occupied by Australian scientists, we hope to visit them and discuss their research. We will concentrate on the best wildlife areas - the teeming royal penguin rookery and the expanding king penguin colony at Sandy Bay, the massed king penguins at Lusitania Bay, the rockhopper penguins scattered around the isthmus and the thousands of elephant seals along the beaches.
Day 24-26: We will spend the last few days at sea recapping our adventures, labeling photos and relaxing before returning to our regular routines.
Day 27: We arrive to the Port of Hobart and after breakfast and customs formalities have been completed we will disembark.
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